It took a couple of quarters to get going, but in the second half Notre Dame dominated Boston College en route to a 40-7 victory.
Both sides of the ball had a number of standouts, but there were three players that stood above the rest.
QB Ian Book — 26-40, 65.0%, 239 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT / 66 rushing yards
Book is usually very accurate on short to intermediate throws, but he struggled at times in those areas against Boston College, missing on some easy throws he normally hits. What I liked about his performance against Boston College is that he was able to overcome some sloppiness and still put together a strong performance.
Early in the game Book was rushing through his reads a bit, and he didn’t see the BC cornerbacks squatting on the short game, which resulted in two incompletions, including one throw that was close to getting picked off. But Book adjusted, making better pre-snap decisions and spreading the ball around quite effectively the remainder of the game.
Book showed good poise in the pocket, which helped him find open receivers when the line gave him time, to move around and make plays on the move and to take off running when the need was there. Book led the Irish with 66 rushing yards, and most came on scrambles. When he did move around he kept his eyes downfield and was able to either keep BC back, opening up running room, or he was able to find an open wideout.
His pocket presence helped him be effective on third down. Book went 7-11 for 61 yards on third-down, and six of his completions moved the chains. He converted a third-down throw while getting dragged to the ground, had another where he fit a ball to Chase Claypool over the middle of the field in tight coverage, and on another he side-stepped the pressure, reset his feet and threw a strike to Chris Finke for a first down.
Book had a third-down throw dropped in the second quarter, but he followed that up by hitting Finke on a pivot route to convert the fourth-down. Three plays later Book hit Claypool for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
Runners Up: WR Chase Claypool, TE Cole Kmet, WR Chris Finke
DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji — 6 tackles, 3 TFL’s, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Ogundeji had a career day for the Irish, tying his career high for tackles and setting new career bests for tackles for loss and sacks. The senior end was outstanding against the run, setting the edge effectively and making plays on the football. He blew up a jet sweep on Boston College’s second drive, putting the Eagles in a third-and-long they could not convert.
Ogundeji was highly effective as a pass rusher in the victory. His two sacks came in crucial situations. With Notre Dame up just 13-7, Ogundeji’s first sack ended a Boston College drive that was near midfield.
With Notre Dame up 16-7 in the third quarter, Ogundeji made his second sack of the game, and it was a crucial play. Boston College had a tight end come wide open down the seam, and if Ogundeji doesn’t get to the quarterback as quickly as he did there’s a good chance the play goes big and we are talking about a 16-14 game.
Instead, the Irish got the ball back and finished with a field goal that made it a 19-7 game.
Runners Up: DE Khalid Kareem, LB Asmar Bilal, Rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
PK Jonathan Doerer — 16 points / 4-4 on field goals / 4-4 on extra point attempts
Doerer had an impressive performance for Notre Dame as both a placekicker and kickoff specialist. Doerer was Notre Dame’s offense in the first half, making kicks of 47, 29 and 45 yards to give the Irish a 16-7 halftime lead. He started things off in the third quarter with a 37-yard boot to put the Irish up 19-7.
Five of his nine kickoffs were touchbacks, and four others pinned Boston College at its own 26, 24, 24 and 16-yard line. His placement and hang time allowed the Irish coverage team to get down and pin the Eagles deep.
Runners Up: LB Bo Bauer